Archive for April, 2024

Worry Is Worthless – Part Four

There are antidotes for worry offered in Scripture. Apply them.

Work is a wonderful antidote. It is great therapy. Jesus appealed to His listeners to “Look at the birds of the air….” If He watches out for the sparrow, doesn’t it make sense that He will watch out for you? Watch that little sparrow over which He is watching. He allows the sparrow to scratch. We too must develop a good work ethic. Cultivate good work habits. Get up early and get going with enthusiasm. Be refreshed by experiencing a new day dawning. Let your mind be bathed in the joy of a new day’s birth.

God spends more on bird food each year than our national debt. If He is going to provide for the world’s bird population, which is estimated to be over 100 billion, He is going to take care of you.

“Consider the lilies….” Christ takes care of them. They are in harmony with their environment. Put aside the idea you are Atlas and therefore responsible for carrying the world on your back.

Resign as Vice President in charge of the world’s affairs. Commit yourself and your work to Christ. Master the plan of developing the proper attitude. Who talked you into not liking your work? You did. Now talk yourself into appreciating the fact you have a job and commit yourself to Christ in it.

Plan your work and work your plan. That is far better and much more productive than worrying.

Worship is an aid for overcoming worry. “Seek first the kingdom of God…”

Don’t even consider the kingdom of God if you don’t intend to seek it first. Where there is a kingdom there is a king. Don’t dare contemplate the kingdom unless you intend to make King Jesus the ruler in your life.

“O worship the King all glorious above, and gratefully sing of His wonderful love.”

Food and clothes are important, but pale in importance when compared to the vitality of Christ as Master in your life. When He is, you are so secure you can live without labels. You can be confident and survive without brand names. Your composure and serenity comes from what is within, not what from what is on you.

Worry, in effect says, “You lied, God.”

Wait on the Lord, run not before Him. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow….”

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).

“Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7)

Worry Is Worthless – Part Three

Actions deserve our best effort. Worry prevents our best effort and impairs the effect.

Some persons have made worry a way of life.

Worry is like a soft bed, it is easy to get into and hard to get out of.

Once a positive or negative pattern of thought is established, and this is often done early in life, it becomes instinctive to maintain it. Sheep are a graphic of this. They tend to line up and walk single file in line. If a stick is put across their path a few inches from the ground so that the first few have to jump over it, you can remove the stick and those that follow will still jump where the one before it jumped. We get mental trends established in the same manner. We keep on worrying.

Worry can be learned from an example. The child of a parent who perpetually worries tends to develop into a person who worries.  Worry isn’t a disease but it can contribute to developing a disease or physical disorder. Like a disease it is contagious. Some medical authorities say it is more contagious than diphtheria. It can come from fears of being inferior, poverty, or poor health.

Some people worry so, they know that if it weren’t for bad luck they wouldn’t have any luck at all. They are convinced that if they found a magic lantern they would have the luck of the fellow who did find such a lantern and was promised by the genie a midas touch. Sure enough, everything he touched turned to a muffler.

Worry is like a strong acid perpetually running on a soft surface in which it cuts a channel. Unless worry is checked, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.

Worry finds its origin in painful events of the past.

Its occasion in physical weakness and need in the present.

Its opportunity in some fear of an unknown future.

Thus, the web of worry consists of three strands.

It consists of past events we long to live over.

The second stand is an uncertain future regarding which we have no confidence.

The third strand is the present which is paralyzed by absorption with our past and apprehension related to our future.

If you tend to worry, confess it to the Lord as though you would any sin. Next, ask Him to help you overcome it. Then commit yourself to working to overcome it by before leaving any point of worry superimpose a positive thought on the negative topic. Pause now and pray about it.

Worry Is Worthless – Part Two

A lack of understanding can cause confusion. Simply stated, Jesus said, “Don’t ever worry.”

Worry is an attitude of mind that affects the body physically. Emotional instability causes physical deterioration. Jesus understood the destructive power of worry, and he knew that this negative mental attitude was detrimental to health.

Worry will fatigue every neuron in your psyche.

When you worry your adrenal gland is functioning so rapidly that your bloodstream cannot throw off the excess adrenaline.

Some medical authorities say that worry places more stress on the heart than any other stimulus, including physical exercise and/or fatigue. Some estimate that worry causes two-thirds of today’s physical illness. It contributes to high blood pressure, heart trouble, kidney disease, goiter, arthritis, headaches, and strokes. It can cause excessive perspiration, muscle tension, hyperventilation, abdominal pain, “butterflies,” nausea, and a quivering voice.

Dr. Alexis Carroll makes the point clear: “Businessmen who don’t know how to fight worry die young.” People who don’t know how to win over worry lose the battle for life.

It results in phobias, neuroses, psychoses, psychophysiologic disorders.

Worry in the extreme causes abulia — the loss of will power. Abulia is a word for a nervous breakdown.

One friend said to another, “No wonder you are always tired. You do everything three times. You worry about it before you do it. Then you do it. Then you worry about having done it.”

Worry makes God seem unreal, others unimportant, and you sick.

Worry reveals a person who is trying to do things his or her own way.

Andrew Carnegie asked Henry Ford, “Do you ever worry?”

Ford replied: “No, I believe God is managing the affairs and that He doesn’t need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe that everything will work for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about?”

Worry is a medallion worn by those who have not yet concluded, “Jesus Christ will take care of me.”

Worry is irreverent, for it fails to recognize God who gave us life as the sustainer of life.

It is irrelevant in that it does not change anything.

It is irresponsible because it uses up time and burns up energy.

Stop doing everything three times. Have faith and do it better once. Try it.

Worry Is Worthless – Part One

The following will be best understood by first reading Matthew 6: 27- 34.

Jesus knows human nature. He knows your tendency to worry. He is aware of your proclivity to be pessimistic and look on the dark side of most things. Therefore, “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” (Matthew 6: 17).

Mark Twain once wrote: “I am an old man and I have seen a lot of troubles, but most of them never happened.” Can you agree?

The Authorized King James version translates the Greek word “merimnao,” “take no thought.” The Greek word has two parts which are “merim,” meaning “mind” and “nao,” signifying “to divide.” Thus, the word speaks of a divided mind. That is what worry is, a divided mind. It means to fall to pieces. Old timers were known to say, “I just fell to pieces.”

Hence, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8).

Worry divides our mind, that is, our understanding; therefore, we end up wishy-washy and confused.

Worry divides our discernment; therefore, our observations and conclusions are cloudy.

Worry divides our feelings, and as a result our emotions are unstable.

There are physical reasons not to worry. In 1610 and 1611 when the AKJ was translated, “thought” meant a negative attitude, actually worry.  For example, writing in that time period it was said Queen Catherine “died of thought.” That didn’t mean she existed without thinking and then one day she had a thought and it killed her like a stroke or heart attack.

Another example of this use from the same period related to a play in which it was said to Queen Cleopatra, “Think and die,” meaning “worry will kill you.”  Today medical science has proven this to be true.

The expression “take no thought” isn’t an encouragement to be thoughtless, shiftless, or thankless.

Prudent, practical planning is always appropriate.

What Jesus said meant to His hearers and to us, “don’t worry.” If He tells us not to do it that means it is wrong to do it and there are ways to avoid worry. Incidentally, in this passage in Matthew, Jesus repeats the expression four times. It is as though He knew we needed it emphasized. He wanted to be clearly understood. Take Jesus at His word and don’t worry. Instead, exercise faith today.

A Faith That Works – Part Three

Come look in the looking glass again.

“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the word, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1: 23 – 25).

This graphic example is an instant indictment of many. It speaks of a person who merely glances in a mirror, compares himself to himself, and goes his way forgetting what he saw. When a person looks in the mirror of their own standards they always look good. Many are deceiving themselves by living by their own standards rather than God’s.

The word “look” translates the Greek word meaning to “peer into it,” take an in-depth look. The reference here is the Bible, God’s mirror given us.

Looking only leaves us in moral and spiritual slavery. Doing God’s word sets us free.

We are to “continue” in the word. The Christian life is to be lived in the present tense. We can’t live today off spiritual coupons clipped from yesterday. We are to peer into the word daily and incorporate it into a lifestyle.

The result is found in the word “blessed” (Vs. 25). There are some lifestyles far easier than following Jesus, but there are none better. The life of the doer is the very best because it is the one blessed.

Faith must show itself in action.

Jesus brought the issue into focus with these words:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7: 21 – 23).

A person living in deep depravity was the topic of discussion when one of the conversants said, “But he said he is a Christian.” Not! Hopefully as unlikely as it seems he may some day come to his senses and repentantly turn to the Lord and experience the joy of salvation. Such would be a first time act, not a renewal.

If a person claims to be a Christian, the claim can be tested by bringing them face to face with the Word of God. If there is a positive reaction, the claim is real. If not, the claim is false.

The person referred to in the text once looked in the mirror, the Word of God, and saw himself a sinner. While he continues to look into the mirror he is affected, and wishes himself different to what he appears, and forms purposes of doing what he can to render his countenance agreeable. Once away from the mirror he forgets what he once wanted to change and doesn’t do the word.

Good news, a doer of the word, this one will be blessed… (James 1:23 – 25).